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March 16 Lecture

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University of Toronto St. George

CLA204 March 16, 2011 Athens and Theseus Lecture 9 Odyssean Heroism: choice of Life over Death -Odysseus wants to live, wants a nostos (journey home) Achilles in the Underworld -refuses offer of immortality (Calypso, Circe, Nausicaa); wants to return to his house (oikos); his quest is that he chooses to be mortal; he constantly needs goddesses, who like him -intelligence; metis over bie (brawn) -disguise and concealment; disguises himself to avoid suitors once returning home; most heroes state who they are help of community; strength of monsters vs. intelligence, Athenas wisdom and help Odyssey 5 -if you only knew what pains were fated to fill your cup youd stay here with me and be immortal Palladion- Odysseus and Diomedes disguise themselves and crawl into Troy through the sewers and steal the Palladion, icon of Athena; heroes concealing themselves Folktale Motifs -monsters; Scylla (female monster on cliffs, devours men off ships) and Polyphemus the cyclops -thieftrixter figure i.e. Odysseus (common element of folktale; wise guy, deceiver) -homecoming husband plot, reveals himself to Penelope with tricks -aid of divinity (Athena) -trip to Hadesconquest of death (katabasis) -magical figures Circe and Aeolus -shape changingdisguise; Proteus (seal man on an island in Egypt, sea divinity), Odysseus as stranger -strange geographies; scheria, lotus-eaters, crazy world outside of Greece; colonization of Greeks Ritual Antagonism -relationship in which a god and a hero are hostile to one another in myth, but closely connected in cult -Odyssey features the hostility between Poseidon and Odysseus, but confrontation ultimately glorifies both -until he lands in Ithaca, Odysseus is subject to Poseidons wrath; final mission is to go inland to found a shrine to Poseidon, thereby spreading his fame and worship (wander inland until he finds people who do not know what an oar is because they are so far from the sea) II. House of Atreus descendants of Perseus -Agamemnon experiences successful nostos, returns in triumph with slaves and gold -wife welcomes him home and Clytemnestra, his wife, kills him for sacrificing their daughter -she is a paradigmatic of an evil woman, adultery with Aegisthus, avenging Fury (curse of house) -oikos would be disgraced if man brought home the woman he committed adultery with, which Agamemnon did with the daughter of Priam, Cassandra, Trojan princess; contrast with Odysseus respectful adultery with divinities -Clytemnestra then kills Cassandra after killing Agamemnon Orestes son of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra -sent away to live with a family friend, grows up and comes back to avenge his fathers death -returns from Boeotia, kills Clytemnestra while in disguise; hounded by Furies, he runs off in exile -goes to Delphi for purification to avoid furies, asks Apollo what to do; some myths claim he gets purified of the murder by Apollo (cleanse with blood of sacrificial animal); purification does not work, he is chased to Athens -court of the Ariopicus (hill of Ares); the homicide court in Athens, dealt with capital crimes -first homicide trial in western civilization is Orestes trial; Athena forms a group of peers to judge him; he is acquitted -furies become the amenities in Athens, kindly fertility goddesses Cecrops th th -confused history, altered in 6 and 5 century
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